How Shared Negativity Unites People More Than Common Interests

William Lewis

Updated Tuesday, June 11, 2024 at 3:09 AM CDT

How Shared Negativity Unites People More Than Common Interests

The Power of Shared Negativity

Around the world, a significant number of people come together over things they hate, more so than for noble causes often depicted on TV. Misery loves company, suggesting that people are naturally drawn to each other through shared negativity. This phenomenon is evident in various aspects of life, from politics to sports, where individuals find it easier to bond over mutual dislikes rather than shared interests.

Negativity can sometimes result in positive changes when people unite over their hatred for something. For example, collective dissatisfaction with a policy or public figure can lead to significant social or political reforms. This unifying power of negativity often overshadows the more subtle and less vocalized connections formed through shared positive interests.

Easier to Unite Over Dislikes

It's easier to unite people over disliking something than liking something because there are more reasons to dislike, and people don't need to agree on their reasons for dislike. In politics, two people disliking a candidate doesn't imply they both support the same alternative candidate. This flexibility in the reasons for dislike makes it easier to form larger, more diverse groups united by a common negative sentiment.

In sports, it's easier to find people who dislike a team than those who agree on liking a specific team. The collective disdain for a rival team can bring fans together in a way that shared support for their team might not. This phenomenon can be seen in the intense rivalries that develop between sports teams and their fan bases.

The Dual Nature of Hatred

Hatred of a thing can also be interpreted as a love for the absence of that thing. An example is a small village opposing the relocation of refugees, which can be seen as either hate for the newcomers or love for their existing way of life. This duality shows that negative sentiments can often be rooted in a desire to preserve what one loves, further complicating the perception of hatred as a purely negative force.

Love also brings people together, but these connections are less visible because they are not as frequently shared on the internet. The internet creates an illusion that hate brings people together more than love because negative sentiments are more often expressed online. This skewed visibility can lead to the misconception that hate is a more potent unifying force than love.

The Internet's Role in Amplifying Negativity

The visibility of hate-driven unity on the internet skews the perception of how people come together. People band together over things they love every day, but this unity is less visible compared to those united by hate. The trope of people uniting for noble causes is more common in media portrayals than in real life, where shared negativity provides a common ground that can unite diverse groups of people.

Negative sentiments are more likely to be vocalized and shared, making them more noticeable. The idea that hate brings people together more than love can seem profound but falls apart under scrutiny. The reasons for disliking something are varied and numerous, making it easier to find commonality in hate. Positive unity over shared love is less likely to be broadcasted widely, leading to a misconception about its frequency.

Opposition to Change

People’s opposition to change can be seen as either hate for the new or love for the familiar. The internet amplifies negative sentiments, making it appear as though hate is a stronger unifying force than love. However, this amplification does not necessarily reflect the true nature of human connections. While shared negativity can indeed bring people together, the quieter, less visible bonds formed through love and positive interests are equally, if not more, significant in fostering unity and community.

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